Rams rally for berth in semis
FORT COLLINS ” The Roaring Fork boys basketball team showed it could pull out the win in a tight game.
The undefeated Rams, who haven’t played in a game decided by less than 13 points since early December, came back from an abysmal six-point first quarter to defeat Estes Park 55-48 in the Class 3A State Tournament quarterfinal round here Thursday.
“We would go up by five or six, and they would kind of reel us in,” Roaring Fork head coach Roger Walters said.
The Bobcats (19-6) reeled Roaring Fork all the way in with 1:30 left in regulation when Trevor Holler drained a three to even the score at 48-all.
It was the last time Estes Park tickled the twine.
Roaring Fork (25-0) quickly answered with a deuce to go up 50-48 and stymied the Bobcats in their next two offensive trips.
Aaron Markham got the shooters bounce on a free throw to give the Rams a 51-48 advantage with 32 seconds remaining.
“Aaron went to the line and hit the back of the iron and the thing bounced up about four feet and ended up going in,” Walters said.
Christian Tena sealed the contest, forcing a Bobcat player to travel. Then, after two more Markham free throws, Tena capped the 7-0 run with a turnover converted into a layup in the final seconds.
“He was just so solid, as always,” Walters said of Tena’s defensive play.
“We executed really well in the offensive end and defensively had some huge shots,” Walters added. “All the boys did such a great job.”
Led by Brian Hansen ” who scored all 15 of his points in the first half, including three treys ” Estes Park opened with a flurry to take a 13-6 lead after the first quarter.
The Rams’ offense came alive in the second frame, outscoring Estes Park 21-12 and taking a two-point edge into the halftime break.
“Defensively, (the Bobcats) only average giving up 39 points a game,” Walters said. “Watching film on them I knew it was going to be tough for us, but the kids did a really nice job.”
Dan Markoya paced the Rams with 22 points. Nic Lough notched 12 points and also took a key charge late in the fourth quarter that negated a Bobcat basket that would have brought Estes Park within one.
“Nic Lough took a charge … and kind of swung the (momentum),” Walters said.
Markham finished with eight points, nine assists and 12 rebounds.
Hansen led the Bobcats with 15 points and Luke Luedtke scored 12, all from beyond the arc.
The Rams play in the semifinal game tonight against Platte Valley at 5:30 p.m. Platte Valley (25-1), led by 7-footer and Colorado State signee Jason Smith, downed Faith Christian 77-66 Thursday.
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